Star Fleet Corps of Engineers, Mission to Bajor
Book One – The Monarch
By T.M. Flavin
Chapter Twenty - Hooray for flush toilets; and a take charge wife?
Day fourteen - cont.
After watching the temporary fix for the lavatories starting to work, I headed back to the common room to see how the water testing was doing.
It was doing well.
The newly installed particle filters were doing their job very well.
Howard showed me that the water was now showing chemically pure at the present, but they wanted to cycle the water through all the toilets and sink drains for another half hour before they closed up the system, and opened the input valve on the food re-sequencer.
It was fine by me.
I asked Miss Kuni if she had met our purser.
She said that she did when she first came on board when she was with the Captain.
I then asked her if she wouldn’t mind explaining to her all the matters we discussed, in particular how the recyclers worked and the need for the paper towel dispenser.
Miss Kuni said,” Sure.”
We both went over to the Pursers’ nook where I explained to Mrs. Kahlest that Miss. Kuni, and I, had discussed many topics about, and around, the food re-sequencer, and I thought she should get a personal report from Miss. Kuni.
She would then be in on the picture of our suggestions for better ship service, and supply operations, as all purchases will have to go through her office.
I suggested that Miss. Kuni furnish her with a catalog of supplies, and services, that Coleman Industries furnished from her lunar facilities, especially for recycling and resupply functions.
I also had a feeling that we needed to establish a general supply room, and maybe a commissariat for crew convenience.
The two women shook each others’ hands and started right in conversing through the translators, so I excused myself and went into the security station.
I put in an intercom call to Kahlest that the food sequencer was almost ready to go on line and maybe he should call all our available stewards to come up and get an operational briefing on the food sequencer operation, from the Colemen Ind. personnel, prior to them leaving.
Kahlest acknowledged the message and ask me to come up to the bridge for a moment.
I acknowledged, and told him I would be right up.
I told Officer Carney, in Security, to pass the word around that the food sequencer would be ready in about a half hour for coffee, and some hot beverages.
So if anyone had the time, the crew should come up to the common room and get a cup of coffee.
That way they could ask the Coleman people any questions they might have about the food sequencer.
I went back to the common room looking to grab a cup of coffee before the crowd showed up.
It wasn’t ready yet, so I headed for the bridge.
On the Bridge were Captain Kahlest, and his three Klingon Bridge officers.
“Good day, Commodore,” Kahlest greeted. “I want to thank you for making that call to Coleman Industries.”
“They were asking for permission to come aboard at almost the same time Ms. Tash and Dr. Tehk left with a shuttle filled with our crewmembers.”
“Did you have any questions about them handling and installing their equipment?” I asked.
“No sir, it needed to be done,” Kahlest replied curtly.
“They brought their own tools.”
“Mr. Comet sent them a ships’ schematic to their base when they asked for permission to inspect, and repair if possible, the food re-sequencer.”
“Whatever the onboard Coleman personnel requested for the servicing, from their base, was shipped up immediately through their transporter, very efficient.”
“I was very impressed”, He commented.
“You saw how small those recyclers were; it took minimal effort to move them from the transporters to the work sites.”
“I’m glad to hear it Captain, I also saw that the Coleman people knew their jobs.”
“I put a few of their Miss. Kuni’s suggestions on your message board.”
“Miss Kuni is talking with Mrs. Kahlest now.”
“You may have to sit down with all your senior officers and have a budget meeting when they are through Captain.”
Kahlest grunted, “I see. I will be sure to discuss it with Mrs. Kahlest.”
“I know Commodore; the conditions in this ship did not meet your expectations. I thank you for your indulgence.”
“I thank you for your cooperation Kahlest,” I stated. “But we’re not out of the woods yet.”
“I don’t know how far the Bajorans want to fund for this mission, I just hope we don’t all end up in the hole.”
“By the way Commodore,” said Kahlest, “I wanted to take this time to inform you that Ms. Tash, and Dr. Tehk, have asked me for permission to take quarters on board this ship.
I said yes of course.”
“I hope there are no difficulties between you three?"
"I understand you all have a close relationship with them.”
“Well Captain,” I replied, “we were bumping into each other a lot lately."
"Maybe they just wanted a little more space.”
“I should warn you Captain, that if both of those ladies went shopping together, I would expect a ship load of goods to be transported aboard very shortly after their arrival.”
“I would make sure you have personnel at both transporter stations.” I laughed.
“Maybe that explains this Commodore” Kahlest said as he handed his message PADD.
The message read;
‘1200HRS, United Space Ways Freight Outfitters, request permission to board for the purpose of crew quarters maintenance, and the installation, of crew quarters furnishings as ordered by Ms. Be’nen Tash and credited to her personal account.’
‘The operation is tentatively scheduled for 1800HRS EST today to 0600 HRS EST, tomorrow.’
‘Request the transporter be manned, all materials will be delivered and installed by our personnel, subject to your inspection and guidance IAW Luna port GSA regulations. '
'Stanley Ball, Manager.’
“That’s the company I used to work for, before I took this job,” I exclaimed.
“I didn’t even know that they serviced other than USF shuttles."
"Are you going to approve it Captain?”
“Yes Commodore,” he said with a smile.
“I already have.”
“I’m rather curious as to what she can do with our crude accommodations.”
“I’m sure my wife will be watching too.”
“You’re curious!” I exclaimed.
“Those two women always seemed to keep me guessing.”
“If you don’t mind Captain, I’m going down and see if that food re-sequencer can furnish me a hot meal or at least a hot cup of coffee; would you like to join me?”
“Do you think it will be fit to eat, Commodore,” he asked?
“Well they have a beef, ham, pork, chicken and fish on the sequencers’ menu bar; hopefully the ham and pork might meet your taste.”
“The vegetables, and beverages, you will have to try and see for yourself,” I explained.
“Yes I guess so, Commodore,” he said glumly.
“I have had some of the Earth cuisine at Luna port."
"It seemed very hard for the food service personnel there to get my meat as raw as I liked it.”
“Evidently the thawing process caused all your frozen foods to be heated to an almost cooked temperature.”
“I’m sure you could get pork dishes that way in the New Berlin restaurants,” I commented.
“They cater to all the big spenders there, I here.”
Kahlest only grunted and got out of his Captains seat and walked down to the common room with me.
There was about ten of my crew there scoffing up lunches and dinners.
They gave a small cheer when we came in.
The Coleman crews along with Miss. Kuni, were also testing out the re-sequencers menu.
I went to the starting line and picked up my new plastic plate, knife, fork and spoon from the utensil hoppers.
Then I held my plate under the arrow for Ham; out dropped a slice of ‘ham’, a roundel of about four inches round and about three eights of an inch thick.
It was just enough to fit on a slice of bread if you wanted it to.
Next were the mashed potatoes.
It came out in a stream like it came from ice cream cone filler.
It was the same thing for the sweet potatoes and squash listed, I guessed.
I opted for carrots next; they were nice little round slices of about an inch and a quarter.
The peas that I ordered looked like rabbit feed pellets, green short tubes about 1mm long.
I imagined the green beans listed were much the same, only longer.
The deserts were only puddings.
I had to go back to the utensil hoppers to get another cup for my vanilla pudding.
In the condiment section of the line was cocoa, coffee and hot water for tea, brown or chicken flavored gravy, catsup, mustard, and mayonnaise.
The bread at the end of the line was a circular four inch fairly soft cracker.
Evidently these weren’t made by the re-sequencer.
I was ready to eat so I sat down at a table with Miss Kuni, and Howard, and started to dig in; I was hungry.
The ham tasted like canned Spam on Earth.
As a bachelor I ate a lot of Spam and learned to like it.
The potatoes tasted like all dehydrated potatoes; with gravy on them I could eat it by the pound.
The carrots tasted carroty.
The peas tasted a little like greens beans, but that was okay.
The pudding was okay too.
Angel, and Howard, looked at me a little funny when I went back to put some gravy on my cracker.
I let it soften and wolfed it down.
I didn’t particularly like dry crackers.
Kahlest, when he sat down next to me, was munching on about two pieces of ham.
He had piled up about two inches of the ham slices on his plate that was covered in chicken gravy.
There was a very large helping of peas on his plate, also covered in chicken gravy.
In one cup he had what looked like pea soup, somehow I had missed the soup section.
The other cup he had was black coffee.
He asked me what the crackers were.
I told him they were un-leavened bread, used by humans for food, and snacks, for centuries.
He then spread lemon flavored pudding over them, and ate them while smacking his lips with a big smile on his face.
“I must get my wife” he said, and off he went to her Pursers office.
When he came back he sat her down at a table, pick up his plate from where I was sitting and walked over to her with his plate full of food again and said, “Here my heart try this.”
KaLitra Kahlrst, tried a little bit of this, and that, off of Kahlest’s plate, then told him to get another plate for himself while she ate the rest of what Kahlest had given her.
Kahlest came back with two more plates, filled with everything he had the first time, with crackers, pudding with cups of coffee and peas soup.
They both ate all that he had set on the table.
When he finished, he grunted like it could have been a belch and said, “I must relieve the bridge crew so they can come to eat” and left for the bridge.
Mrs. Kahlest then rose from her table nodded to me and said “Commodore”, and returned to her office across the hall.
Watching the two Klingons eat the food from the re-sequencer seemed to be an event.
Both Howard and Miss. Kuni who were watching were agog.
“They were really, really hungry,” Miss Kuni said.
“I’m glad they like the food,” said Howard, “but I sure as hell won’t put myself between them and their meal plates.”
“Personally, I never in my life seen anyone eat that many Star Fleet crackers,” I commented, “and with lemon pudding on them at that.”
“They were eating them like they were sugar cookies.”
We all laughed a little, but I was very happy.
They really liked the food.
The food re-sequencer furnished only bare essentials, but it was enough.
The menu was basic lunch and dinners.
If you wanted breakfast you had to have ham with no eggs, milk and crackers.
You ended up with ham, or a toasted cracker with coffee, or tea.
The crew quarters area where the Klingons were living had a galley with a stove and refrigerator.
The large refrigeration unit on B deck was a door-less shell filled with spare parts, that and the laundry machines had to be replaced at Earth Space dock.
The moon bases just could not equip us with that type of large pieces of commercial equipment that we needed.
I started to get up from my table to go to the bridge when Miss. Kuni remarked, “It’s almost time to go now Commodore.”
“It is almost eighteen hundred hours, and we have to pack up and be ready to leave when Ms. Tash returns with her shuttle.”
I said, “Sure, I’ll walk down with you. I want to thank you again for all your help.”
“You are welcome Commodore,” she replied with a great big smile.
“My report on the condition of the re-sequencer working after all these years will, I’m sure, make corporate headquarters very happy, and when they are happy, I’m happy.”
“I’m sure,” I replied with my best grin that I could provide.
I was kind of sad to see her go; she was such a delightful young lady to look upon.
We all walked down to C deck to see them all off at the shuttle docking port entrance.
Most of the crew that was not on required duty was there to shake hands and give thanks.
I think Miss Kuni and Howard were a little touched by the send off.
I gathered senior management rarely had contact with working crew members.
The intercom sounded; “Will the Coleman Industries personnel please report to the shuttle bay and prepare for departure.”
“From the captain and crewmembers I wish to thank Coleman Industries for their service.”
“Please inform me when all personnel and equipment are boarded and are ready to disembark.”
I shook hands with Miss Kuni, and Howard again.
“Please stop by and see us if you get a chance Chief, be sure to bring Ms. Tash with you, I would really like to meet her.”
“Thanks for the hospitality,’ she said with a laugh.
“Good luck on your mission.”
The Coleman crew all boarded their shuttle and within a minute the shuttle bay claxon sounded and the depressurization started.
The shuttle bay doors opened slowly to make sure all the parts and pieces that were still in there didn’t fly off into space.
Those of us who could, waved “goodbye” at the entrance door windows.
Then they were off.
Be’nen, and her passengers, was on their way in with her shuttle, and my curiosity was hard to get a grip on to.